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University of Arizona granted $1M to help fight vision loss

University of Arizona portable microscope device
Posted at 5:33 PM, Mar 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 20:35:04-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — It all started in a lab inside the University of Arizona's James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences. Assistant Professor, Dongkyun Kang, came up with an idea for a portable microscope with the ability to diagnose corneal ulcers.

"What our device can do is take a look at the patient's cornea right on the spot and visualize the cellular structure," said Kang. "They can then tell what kind of kind of problem is causing the corneal ulcer. Then the doctor can initiate treatment."

The National Eye Institute invested $1 Million in Kang's idea, which he said will provide a faster, cheaper and less painful diagnostic experience for patients.

"The existing method is very expensive, so we're developing something that's affordable," said Kang.

Kang's hope is that the affordability of his device will bring proper diagnoses to more rural communities.

"Globally, there is about 4.3 million people who are going through corneal ulcer related vision loss or impairment," said Kang.

Kang has paired up with Jaya Chidambaram, a former senior lecturer at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. They have goals of testing the device in clinical studies around the world.

"Maybe 10 or 20 years down the road, each eye doctor will have one of our devices and take a look at patients' cornea in a very high resolution," said Kang. "That can really help patients in terms of diagnosis and treatment."